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Nearby Nature School

COVID-19 Update — Please see our Health and Safety Policies for details on how we are keeping program participants and staff safe. Modifications to these policies may need to happen as guidance from local, state, and national officials changes. Thanks for your patience during this challenging time. See also our Air Quality Monitoring Policies.

The Basics:

WHAT: School year adventure, play, nature, science, art, & gardening! New theme every month! Standards-based curriculum that complements in-school learning.

WHERE: Alton Baker Park and Nearby Nature’s Learnscape

WHO: Youth ages 4-5 (Wonder Keepers) and youth ages 6-10 (Natural Neighbors), max 10-12 children per program, taught by experienced nature educators.

WHEN: Month-long sessions, one day/week, enrollments accepted on a rolling basis as space available.

HOW MUCH: $95-125/month members, $110-145/month non-members. Scholarships available! Apply when you register online.* 

REGISTRATION and PAYMENT: When you register online, you will create an account and your registration information will be saved for future programs. Be sure to read our cancellation policy on this page below. Returning families — please review and update your online information yearly. 

*If registering online or paying a deposit in advance is not possible for you, or you would prefer to make a deposit to make a payment by check or in cash, please contact us to make arrangements.

WHAT PARENTS ARE SAYING: “In the pandemic, we’ve seen two different preschools close, and I’ve felt very uncomfortable sending my four year old to indoor childcare. After six months of no childcare, I was worried that my introverted kiddo might struggle with new teachers and kids but he LOVED Wonder Keepers from day one. When he heard he was going back another day, he literally jumped for joy. He keeps asking me when it’s a nature school day and has been so excited to return. Thank you, Nearby Nature!!!!” — Sarah, Wonder Keepers Mom

Program Options:

  • Wonder Keepers (ages 4-5) – Participants in each month-long session of this program will enjoy one half day of nature discovery per week (Wednesday afternoons from 12:30-4:30) in the Learnscape and out in Alton Baker Park. Sensory adventures, cooperative activities, nature storytelling, garden exploration, Earth art, and free time in our outdoor play spaces will help young children develop a personal connection to the wonders of the natural world as well as social and independent exploring skills.
  • Natural Neighbors (ages 6-10) – Participants in each month-long session of this program will enjoy one or two days of after school adventures per week (choice of Monday and/or Friday afternoons 2:30-5:30) in Alton Baker Park and our Learnscape. Nature study tools and resources such as nets, magnifiers, cameras, iNaturalist, and art materials will help participants get to know their nearby animal and plant neighbors, create seasonal chapters for their own park nature guides, and deepen their personal connections to the amazing natural community we all call home.

Program Location: Alton Baker Park and the Nearby Nature Learnscape

Programs site provides access to bathrooms, hand-washing facilities, drinking water, parking for drop-off and pick-up, and covered areas in case of inclement weather. All programs happen rain or shine.

Group Size and Ages

Nearby Nature School programs serve kids in two different age groups — Pre-K (ages 4-5) and School-Aged (ages 6-10). Enrollment is capped at 10-12 students per program.

Experienced Instructors

At least two staffers run each program — one lead staff instructor and a trained volunteer or assistant instructor. Some programs also have an additional volunteer. Staff instructors are experienced educators and volunteers have all participated in our program training sessions. All staff are First Aid/CPR certified and all staff and volunteers are background checked and fully vaccinated.

Fall 2021 Program Dates & Costs & Times

  • Wonder Keepers:
    • Session 1 = September 29-October 20 — Full Moon Magic! Celebrate the fall harvest with celestial stories and garden discovery in the Learnscape. Preserve produce and dry herbs for winter. Decorate pumpkins, mix potions, and discover decomposers in the garden!
    • Session 2 = October 27-November 17– Scoot and Scuttle: Scoot like a slug, sneak like a spider, soar like a moth, and scuttle like a centipede! During this session, we will learn about the hidden critters that live all around us—creeping and crawling about unseen in the dark of the night.
    • Wednesday afternoons, 12:30-4:30 pm
    • $125/month for members or $145/month for non-members
    • Flexible Drop Off 12:30-1 pm and Flexible Pick Up 4-4:30 pm
  • Natural Neighbors:
    • Session 1 = September 27-October 18 (Mondays) and/or October 1-22 (Fridays) — Full Moon Magic! Celebrate the fall harvest with celestial stories and garden discovery in the Learnscape. Preserve produce and dry herbs for winter. Decorate pumpkins, mix potions, and discover decomposers in the garden!
    • Session 2 = October 25-November 15 (Mondays) and/or October 29-November 19 (Fridays) —Scoot and Scuttle: Scoot like a slug, sneak like a spider, soar like a moth, and scuttle like a centipede! During this session, we will learn about the hidden critters that live all around us—creeping and crawling about unseen in the dark of the night.
    • Either Monday or Friday afternoon, 2:30-5:30 pm
    • $95/month for one day of the week for members ($190 for both days) or $110/month for one day of the week for non-members (or $220 for both days)
    • Flexible Drop Off 2:30-3 pm and Flexible Pick Up 5-5:30 pm

Important Notes:

  • A minimum non-refundable deposit of $35 is required to hold your program space.
  • Full payment is due a week in advance. Payments can be made by credit card online or in person/by mail with check or cash.

Membership Discount

Scholarships

Nearby Nature believes all children should have affordable access to outdoor adventures in nature nearby. Scholarship assistance is available for our programs at Alton Baker Park through our Youth Scholarship Fund. To apply, fill out the Scholarship section in our online registration form. (Note — If you decide to decline our scholarship offer, all but $10 of your deposit will be refunded.) Donations to the Scholarship Fund are also welcome!

Additional Information

Click on the following links for more information about our programs.

Cancellation Policy

All Nearby Nature registrations include a $35 non-refundable deposit. This deposit holds your space and helps cover the cost of enrolling your child and preparing for programs.

Nearby Nature hopes your month goes as planned and you will not need to withdraw your child from any programs. We do understand, however, that sometimes cancellations are unavoidable. If you need to cancel a registration, please do so as far in advance as possible.

  • Cancellation by 6pm on Monday two weeks before your program = full refund minus the non-refundable $35 deposit ($10 for scholarship recipients).
  • Cancellation by 6pm on Monday one week before your program = 50% refund of camp tuition.
  • No refunds for cancellations after 6pm on Monday one week before your program.

Cancellation by us may happen if there is insufficient enrollment seven days prior to a program. You will be notified promptly and your full payment refunded.

Note: In case of a local, state, or nationally mandated COVID-19 cancellation of all programs, a prorated refund or program credit will be offered if closure is unavoidable and permanent.

Questions?

Contact our Education Coordinator, Grace Chollar-Webb, at 541-687-9699 or email programs@nearbynature.org if you have any questions or problems with registration. Please leave a phone number with your voicemail or email if you are having registration problems so that we can solve these as quickly as possible. Thanks!